Where are we with Afinitor in Canada?

Tick, tick, tick… time is moving along, and yet we have heard nothing from the JODR (Joint Oncology Drug Review). One of the issues that will be addressed in the new pan-Canadian Oncology Drug Review (pCODR)
is that of transparency, or lack thereof in the current process. Information goes in. Nothing comes out.

Right now, what we know is that the Ontario Public Drug Program needed our Patient Evidence Submission on or before June 15 2010. We did our job on time (thanks to those patients who sent their experiences for us to include). Our submission strongly states the need for Afinitor for 2nd line treatment. We think our case is convincing, but we have been surprised about funding decisions before.

Here’s what we DO know:

    We know that the Ontario CED (Committee to Evaluate Drugs) was scheduled to meet in June, and our submission would be introduced by one of the two patient representatives. (CED = JODR for now)
    We know that at least one rcc specialist was asked to give expert testimony back in June.
    We are expecting a recommendation from JODR at the end of the summer, possibly September, possibly October.
    After that recommendation comes out, provinces will need some time to review the JODR recommendation and decide if and when they can follow the recommendation.
    We are well aware that the Afinitrac patient access program will stop enrolling new patients on January 20th (this date was set well up front to allow JODR and the provinces a full year).

Time is running short. We hope that once again we will see some leadership from those provinces where cancer drug access is a priority. Our goal is for no patient to be left without second line treatment in Canada.
Is that too much to ask?

In the meantime, there is a fabulous article in Sept 2010 Reader’s Digest entitled “Map of Shame” — “Do Canadians have access to world-class cancer treatments? Only if you live in the right province.” The article tells the story of kidney cancer patient Judy Pope who died despite her oncologist’s fervent attempts to access Nexavar or Sutent for her case.

Please buy a copy and share it with as many people as you know…


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